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The Role of IDA in Infrastructure - May 2007

The Role of IDA in Infrastructure

Today, too many people in low-income countries still lack access to basic infrastructure services. Increased financing can help sustain services and expand access, but more efficient operation of existing infrastructure and better allocation of capital for new investments are also required. This paper provides background for a discussion on how IDA and its partners can best improve sustainable infrastructure service delivery in the world’s poorest countries.

The Role of IDA in Infrastructure
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Chapter Titles

I. The Infrastructure Challenge
Examines the linkages between the provision of infrastructure services and poverty reduction, discussing the challenges low-income countries face to significantly expand and efficiently manage their investments in infrastructure. Despite widespread recognition of the importance of infrastructure services for poverty reduction, gaps remain in terms of access, investment, institutions and policy. Beyond incremental funding, more efficient and sustainable operation of existing infrastructure and better allocation of capital for new investments are also required for increased spending to cost effectively translate into improved services. Formulating, implementing and effectively coordinating policies that provide incentives to extend services to the poor are also required.

II. IDA’s Role in Addressing the Infrastructure Challenge
Reviews IDA’s track record in supporting infrastructure development and provides some examples of how it has evolved over time. Today, IDA is one of the three largest sources of development assistance for infrastructure in low-income countries, together with Japan and the EC. IDA has used several different approaches to tackle poverty in low income countries: from expanding access to infrastructure services; improving the quality and sustainability of infrastructure services; facilitating the development of local industries; ensuring sound management of natural resources and the environment; promoting social sustainability; providing reconstruction relief after emergencies; to helping to reduce the risks of natural hazards.

III. Lessons Learned From Past IDA Programs
Discusses some key lessons learned and how they inform the design of operations, including: reconsidering the respective roles of the public and private sectors; striking a balance between scale and responsiveness to local conditions on the ground; designing interventions to safeguard people and nature; and considering the governance environment as key to development impact.

IV. Role of IDA Going Forward: Making a Difference
Provides a prospective view of sectoral and regional priorities, as well as estimates of the assistance levels needed under IDA-15 to enable meaningful and widespread progress toward improving infrastructure services in low-income countries.

Learn More

IDA’s Impact on Rural Roads: Some 60,000 km of roads have been built, rehabilitated or maintained through IDA-funded programs in the last 5 years. IDA at Work: Transport. See also IDA at Work: Energy and IDA at Work: Water

What is IDA? The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank that provides interest-free credits to the world's poorest countries. Learn more

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